Saturday, October 1, 2016

Long Layover in Incheon Airport: Quick Seoulful Escape



Inspired by recent questions in Trip Advisor, here is a sample itinerary for those having almost 12 hours layover in Incheon Airport.  I also suggest to not take a risk in skipping your flight, so make sure to remove and reduce a place in your Seoul experience to have enough time on your way back to the airport.

Luggage Storage & Lockers
You are not going to the city with your luggage!  Just in case you have it with you, there are lockers in the airport. 

These are located in the public area of the Passenger Terminal (on the 3rd & 1st floor). 
Rate: approx. $5 - $9 USD per day. 
Hours: 0600-2200
Locations:
  • Arrivals - Korean Express Parcel Service  - Level 1F, near Exit F/3F.  
  • Arrivals - Hanjin Express - Level 1F, near Exit A.
  • Departures -  Korean Express Parcel Service - Level 3F, near Check-in M.  
  • Departures - Hanjin Express - Level 3F, near Check-in A.




Expense and Schedule
You can exchange some money that is possibly less than 100USD.




Start
Category
Details
KrW
PhP
USD
5:00
Food
Breakfast
8,000.00
320.00
7
6:00
Airport Service
Luggage Storage & Lockers
11,250.00
450.00
10
6:30
Transportation
Subway: Incheon Airport To Anguk
4,150.00
166.00
4
8:00
Attraction
Walk along Bukchon Hanok Village
0.00
0.00
0
9:00
Attraction
Gyeongbokgung Palace
3,000.00
120.00
3
10:00
Attraction
Changing of the Royal Guard Ceremony
0.00
0.00
0
Food
Brunch
8,000.00
320.00
7
11:00
Attraction
English Guided Tour in Gyeongbokgung Palace
0.00
0.00
0
12:00
Transportation
Subway + Bus: Gyeongbokgung to Namsan (estimated)
2,500.00
100.00
2
13:00
Attraction
Namsan Tower Observatory
8,000.00
320.00
7
Food
Lunch
10,000.00
400.00
9
15:00
Transportation
Bus: Namsan to Myeongdong (estimated)
2,000.00
80.00
2
Food
Snack
8,000.00
320.00
7
17:30
Transportation
Subway: Myeongdong to Incheon Airport (Arrival: 18:45pm)
4,150.00
166.00
4
19:00
Airport Service
Spa On Air (Shower at Jimjilbang in Incheon Airport)
15,000.00
600.00
13


Grand Total
84,050.00
3,362.00
75


Total Expense without Food and Shower service
35,050.00
1,402.00
31





To the City: Incheon Airport Station
Regular trip starts at 5:23am heading to the capital city (followed by 5:33, 5:43..), while Express (AREX) starts at 5:20 (followed by 6:00, 6:30..) [Time Table]



Target Destinations

Where are the target destinations located in Seoul?  They are are close and accessible by walking and bus transfers.


Refer to this PDF for good Seoul Map.



Bukchon Village 
Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 2.  Go straight for about 300m to arrive at Bukchon Hanok Village.  Since this is an open public area, you can visit this first if you plan to just take photos of the walls and traditional doors (without a visit on traditional musuems). 



[Transfer] From Bukchon to the Palace
It can be walking distance or just a station away difference.



This is just walking distance from Bukcheon.  Known also as “Northern Palace”, most beautiful and grandest; Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven (1395).

-Admission: 3000won (120php); June: 9am-6pm **Use CityPass+ for discount
-Operating Hours: 9am – 6pm : Wed to Mon, 9am – 7pm: Sat to Sun (Closed on Tuesdays)
-Average Stay: 3hrs; -This is a place where some Princess Hours/Goong filming shots were taken.
-Join the English Tour at 11:00, 13:30 and 15:30

- Changing of the Royal Guard Ceremony: 10:00, 14:00
- Gwanghwamun Gate Guard on Duty Ceremony: 11:00, 13:00
- Royal Guard Costume Experience: Before and after the Changing of the Royal Guard Ceremony
- Gatekeeper Military Training: 9:30, 13:30 (running time 15 min.)



Namsan Tower (N Seoul Tower)
Famous and the #1 among the foreign tourists and locals based on Survey released on September 2016. [Seoul's 10 must-visit sites | Read my experience]

You can opt to use cable car heading up (6,000krw/one-way, 8,000/round trip) or a Express Bus #2 from Chungmuro Exit-4.

Enjoy the Observatory, gift shop, lover's lock, pavillion.



[Transfer] Then head down back to Myeongdong using either cable car or Bus #2.


Thanks to kdl033 for noticing that Myeongdong is still not lively by noon, it's better to be visited by late afternoon.


Myeongdong
Where you can enjoy shopping and food either in subway underground or in the streets.  Wide range of beauty shops from Innisfree, Tony Moly, Etude, Nature Republic to name a few. [Browse through my Myeongdong entries]



Heading Back to the Airport
Using subway will be cheaper and has more definite hours (skipping the traffic of the city), it will be 4150krw for 1hr and 15 minutes. 


Buses are recommended for travelers carrying huge luggage.
Bus 6015: 9000won, 25 seats***
Schedule: First: 4:50am Last: 21:30, Time Interval: 20-25min
From: Myeng-dong Station (Sejong Hotel)



Stay Clean!
Freshen-up before heading to your next flight.  There are non-wash shampoo in the market that you can use on bathroom.  But for full clean-up, there are available showers in the airport.

Spa On Air is a jimjilbang on basement level costs 15,000 (for pool, sauna, steam room, bathroom, shower).  Others are located in passenger and transfer terminals. [Read More]


Airport Service: Shower Room
Hours of Operation : 07:00~22:00 (Last admission time is P.M. 21:30)
Facilities : 7 individual shower rooms at east and west locations (Passenger Terminal) and 10 shower rooms (Concourse).
Rate : Free of charge(Non-transfer passengers are required to pay for the shower kit)
Locations : Nearby Korean Air (east wing) and Asiana Airline (west wing) lounges; past the cafeteria in the Transfer Service Complex, Passenger Terminal, 4th floor. / center of Concourse, 4th floor


For my further sample itinerary, expense, trip reports and PDF guides, please visit links below:
South Korea: Seoul: Itinerary for First-time Visitors v 2011
South Korea: Itinerary for Jeju & Seoul v 2011
South Korea: Seoul: Itinerary, Chasing the Snow v 2014
2014 Oct: South Korea: Autumn Itinerary (University Hopping)
South Korea: 2 weeks Itinerary for Southern Provinces


Itinerary

Other suggestion for a short stop in Seoul:


  • 19:00 - arrival in Incheon
  • 21:00 - arrival in Seoul
  • Accommodation in Seoul/Gwanghwamun/Jongak
  • 22:00 - Gwanghwamun + Cheonggyecheon stream (might be chilly, enjoy the cafe's (from those you might see in KDrama's) along the stream)
  • 23:00 - Stroll in Dongdaemun Market
  • 07:00 - Walk along Bukchon Hanok Village
  • 09:00 - Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • 10:00 - Changing of the Royal Guard Ceremony
  • 11:30 - leave Seoul for Incheon
  • 14:30 - departure